'Lines of flight': digital musical instruments, inclusive music bands, meaningful engagement in music-making and learning

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McHale, Gráinne
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University College Cork
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In this study I examine the development of three inclusive music bands in Cork city. Derived from Jellison’s research on inclusive music education, inclusive music bands involve students with disabilities coming together with typically developing peers to make and learn music that is meaningful (Jellison, 2012). As part of this study, I established three inclusive music bands to address the lack of inclusive music making and learning experiences in Cork city. Each of these bands evolved and adapted in order to be socio-culturally relevant within formal and informal settings: Circles (community education band), Till 4 (secondary school band) and Mish Mash (third level and community band). I integrated Digital Musical Instruments into the three bands, in order to ensure access to music making and learning for band members with profound physical disabilities. Digital Musical Instruments are electronic music devices that facilitate active music making with minimal movement. This is the first study in Ireland to examine the experiences of inclusive music making and learning using Digital Musical Instruments. I propose that the integration of Digital Musical Instruments into inclusive music bands has the potential to further the equality and social justice agenda in music education in Ireland. In this study, I employed qualitative research methodology, incorporating participatory action research methodology and case study design. In this thesis I reveal the experiences of being involved in an inclusive music band in Cork city. I particularly focus on examining whether the use of this technology enhances meaningful music making and learning experiences for members with disabilities within inclusive environments. To both inform and understand the person centered and adaptable nature of these inclusive bands, I draw theoretical insights from Sen’s Capabilities Approach and Deleuze and Guatarri’s Rhizome Theory. Supported by descriptive narrative from research participants and an indepth examination of literature, I discover the optimum conditions and associated challenges of inclusive music practice in Cork city.
Inclusion , Music bands , Music education , Inclusive music bands , Assistive music technology
McHale, G. 2016. 'Lines of flight': digital musical instruments, inclusive music bands, meaningful engagement in music-making and learning. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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